Rahul Bose's Poorna, which is based on true story of a 13-year-old Adivasi girl from Telengana, Poorna Malavath, and her journey to become the youngest girl to climb Mount Everest, has impressed a large section of Bollywood critics.
Ahead of the movie's release on Friday, March 31, a special screening was held for the who's who of Bollywood. Many critics found movie inspiring for women who want to break the ceiling. They heaped praises on Aditi Inamdar, who played the role of Poorna and Rahul, who fared both as a director and an actor in the film.
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However, a few others felt the makers could have focused more on Poorna's struggle on the snow-clad mountains. Critics said the Telegu dialogues were not on the par. Also, the Hindi songs clashed with the Telegu dialogues and the rural Telengana setting.
Besides Rahul and Aditi, the biopic also stars Heeba Shah, Harsha Vardhan and Dhritiman Chatterjee.
Below are Poorna's review by Bollywood critics:
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Neil Soans of the Times of India said: "Rahul Bose recognizes the beauty in simplicity and uses it to the film's advantage. Grounded performances combined with stirring music elevate this relatively straightforward tale, making it essential viewing not only for the young Indian woman, but for anyone looking to scale great heights against all odds."
Dhrubo Jyoti of Hindustan Times said: "The first half of the film is terrific as the camera lovingly dwells upon Poorna (Aditi Inamdar) and her sister Priya (S Mariya) as they negotiate with abject penury, hostile parents and a broken education system that is designed to keep out the most underprivileged. Some of the movie's best moments are here, as the tribal girls talk, laugh, and draw the audience into their daily lives. There are jarring songs in Hindi that clash with the Telugu dialogues and the rural Telangana setting of the movie, formulaic plants like a letter from a dead relative and the compulsory rousing song at the climax. Poorna is well intentioned and but in its hunt for ticket revenues and be palatable for a Hindi-speaking city audience, it sabotages what could have been a great film. Watch it strictly for the newbies."
Sreehari Nair of Rediff.com said: "While Aditi Inamdar who portrays Poorna has a face that lends her character the right mix of contortion and childish glee, Bose stepping in to play R S Praveen Kumar (Poorna's talent-spotter and propeller), interprets his character like a Kahlil Gibran devotee. This movie is a perfect example of a city-bred director scanning our heartlands, and instead of taking in all the complexity, all the denseness, stopping to ask himself, "What are the corrections I can highlight in these lives, and how do I stitch together a narrative around these corrections?"
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Shubhra Gupta of Indian Express said: "(Rahul) Bose, whose second directorial venture this is, gives us closeness without cloying sentimentality, and saves the triumphal swelling music for the climax, when Poorna makes her ascent. There are some parts which are not as satisfying. But you do want to see this girl, putting all the obstacles behind her, make that climb, and you share her delight when she reaches that goal."
Mayank Shekhar of Mid-Day said: "(Rahul) Bose made his directorial debut with a reasonably fine, 'Everybody Says I'm Fine' (2001), a seriously upper-class South Bombay English movie with a touch of magic realism. This one could have well been in Telugu. It may be diametrically opposite to his debut. But delivered with much subtly, empathy, and remarkable restraint. Or as they say, on the Internet, delivered #LikeABose!"
Udita Jhunjhunwala of Firstpost said: "Hollywood mountain adventure movies, be it Vertical Limit, Everest or Touching the Void, accorded grand budgets, draw the viewer into the drama, tension, danger and incredible physical will and strength required to climb to the tops of peaks. This is something Poorna does not effectively convey, in particular during the scenes of the final ascent. Perhaps handicapped by budgets, we are denied the thrill of experiencing vicariously the fear and trepidation of a summit-attempt in harsh and testing conditions."
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